The Undress story began in 2011 when Kirsten Stallard, Kobi Lagana and I launched ‘Undress Brisbane’. The Undress name was inspired by Richard Branson’s Virgin. Daring and out-there. Undress Brisbane was a carpark runway show that promoted sustainable fashion in Brisbane, Australia.
Undress Brisbane was a hip and underground, complete with temporary fencing and a bathtub behind the bar to keep drinks cool. Our runway models were backpackers we found on Gumtree, my bed linen was used to create walls backstage and we crowdsourced friend’s couches to fill the carpark with seating. It was quite the operation.
As we grew, we refined the runway and the event became a professional masterpiece. Undress Brisbane was renamed to Undress Runways and we toured the show to the Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne. After 6 years, 13 runway shows and thousands of hours of work, we had a good thing going, but were only just breaking even. Undress was still powered by volunteers, which creates a great vibe, but working a double life wasn’t sustainable. There’s only so many hours in a day.
I was frustrated with the lack of change in people’s shopping habits. It still seemed like a huge leap to buy from sustainable designers or avoid shopping at fast fashion retailers. Price and accessibility of sustainable fashion were clearly still an obstacle (or at least a perceived obstacle).
Our goal is to slow down global clothing consumption and bring respect back into our relationship with clothing.
6000kgs of clothing and textiles goes into landfill every 10 minutes in Australia. That’s nuts!
At the end of 2016, I pulled together a team to start building a totally different business: An online marketplace to list, discover and rent quality clothing. The shared economy for fashion. It was originally called Undress. The plan was to merge the two companies — Undress Runways and the share economy platform. After a lot of discussion about branding and the direction of the *new* Undress, we decided that the companies were very different and we needed to keep them separate. Different business model, different service and different vibes.
This new company is about renting out quality clothes that already exists in people’s wardrobes. Sustainable fashion is at the core of what we do, but we don’t want to have to talk about it all the time. We want a space where we can focus on creating a huge community of people that rent their clothes out to each other. It’s super sustainable but it’s also affordable, accessible and awesome.
We needed something fresh.
We’re kicking off a very new concept; renting out your own clothes to strangers. This deserves its own name.
How do you find a new name for a business? I don’t think there is one right way to do this. It took us 5 days (we needed to move quickly).
Tuesday night, lots of wine, listening to rap music (because rappers say a lot of different words). Explored the deeper meaning of life and the share economy.
Asked friends and family for ideas. Some suggestions included: ‘Threadshed’, ‘Bargain Box’, ‘Trendy Wendy’. Very imaginative. There is something catchy about ‘Trendy Wendy’ though…
Thursday night over dinner, more wine, playing word association games. Can we call it ‘Banana’? Tried to find cool female names so we could be like SIRI and ALEXA.
Frustrated and confused. Will we ever think of something? More word association games. The best we had so far was: ButtonUp (opposite of Undress), KOBI (nice name) and Hoppa (Grace Hopper is very gangsta, Google her).
Saturday night, feeling defeated. Maybe we just stick with ‘Undress’? …But then it finally happened. Bronya, my friend with Swedish heritage and said that the word for ‘borrow’ in most scandinavian languages is Lana or Lane. Boom!
Lana Logo, 2017
It’s a person’s name, Lána has your back. It’s nice and simple … and it means ‘lend’ or ‘borrow’ in Icelandic. I was born in Reykjavik and speak Icelandic so it’s a great connection to my heritage.
It’s taking a bit of getting used to. We’ve loved being the Undress team (and we still are the Undress team when we decide to wear that hat).
But this year, we are the Lána team.
We’re a team of 20 people. We’ve written 997,464 lines of code and consumed a similar number of coffees to date. We are loving the Lána journey so far and can’t wait to share more of it with you.
The Lána team will be publishing weekly blog posts on who we are, what we do, and handy startup tips and tricks. We have an incredible team of designers, developers, writers, photographers and strategists who are working very hard to bring this concept to the world.
Lána is officially launching in Brisbane this October.
If you’re in Brisbane, come along to our official launch party in November. If you’re in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide or Perth, it’s a great excuse to come and visit sunny Queensland.
Thanks for stopping by!
If you have any questions, feel free to pop them in the comments below :)